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Intern Ideas

Continuing our reprinting of old documents from the Gargoyles Development File.

This one was written by Regina Dixon, who was a college intern working at Disney TV Animation for the summer. Refer to previously posted documents to see what she was basing these ideas comedy springboards on.

I hate to say it, but in hindsight this seems like busy work to me. We hadn't even sold the show. We were a long way from needing story ideas. Still, I suppose it was good practice.

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Enter Owen -- The Aardvark!

Continuing to reprint the old Gargoyles Comedy Development...

Another document from Kat Fair and Cindy Chupack. This one brings Xavier's assistant Owen into play. What's interesting to me is that we clearly already knew that Owen had been turned into an Aardvark. It's information taken for granted in this document. It's possible that the idea originated as artwork. I do remember Bob Kline's design of Owen being pretty funny.

Morgan [the Elisa precursor] is quite different, yet still fulfills the same basic function.

Pre-Xanatos Xavier is clearly inspired by Duke Igthorn and Captain Hook. Both are favorite comic villains of mine. Of course, in the drama that Gargoyles became, Xavier would have annoyed the hell out of me. But for a comedy show, I thought he was great.

RECEIVED BY
MAY 09 1991
GREG WEISMAN'S OFFICE
[NOTE: GREG'S HANDWRITTEN NOTES in {brackets}]

GARGOYLES: Characters
(Fair and Chupack, 5/8/91)

OWEN: Owen always had trouble asserting himself, and now that he's an aardvark, well, things aren't getting any better. He's terribly defeatist and apologetic, as in "Xavier, I know you're busy and all, but do you think you might possibly make me a human again, at your convenience. I understand if you can't. I was just checking."

Occasionally Owen will suggest a solution or plan, but he only gets credit when it backfires. (Xavier thinks positive reinforcement is an oxymoron.) However, Xavier is Owen's hero. He's rich, powerful and best of all, tall. Owen strives to be like Xavier, and he's always working for his approval.
The upside to being an aardvark is that Owen doesn't have to shave anymore. The downside is that he has no social life. (Xavier likes to point out that Owen never had a social life, but that's not true. Owen was recording secretary of Knights of the Floppy Disk.) Yes, Owen is a computer geek. He can tap into anything anywhere anytime, which makes him invaluable to Xavier. Of course, he's underpaid.

Next to becoming a human, Owen's greatest aspiration is to impress Morgan.

MORGAN: Even as a young girl, Morgan was fascinated with the medieval time period. She preferred toy dragons to dolls. She dressed up as Guenivere for Halloween. She faked doctor's notes that said she had the black plague. As an archeology grad student in Europe, she was appalled to learn that some rich American brat was buying her favorite castle and taking it to the States, so she finagled her way into a curator position to keep on [sic] eye on its transport and reconstruction. {I wrote "already" next to the above paragraph.}

Morgan finds Xavier totally reprehensible--a real sleaze. Stupid to boot. She'd be perfectly content if she never saw him again, but that won't be the case because she can't resist helping the goyles. (She and Dakota have become real friends, and the goyles often go to her because she knows all the castle's secret passageways.)

Currently, Morgan does research for various historical societies by looking into past records and invariably uncovering mysterious events. The goyles are always on hand to help and/or hinder her research. {I wrote "research dull" next to this paragraph.}

Morgan might seem all business, but she has a warm heart and a nice laugh. She has a hard time tolerating the goyles' silliness, especially in a crunch, but somehow their play always turns out for the best. The goyles might even help her lighten up.

XAVIER: You can't say many nice things about Xavier, but he looks great in a tux. He's always contemplating whether to run for public office, but when it comes to real work he's a lost puppy. (Not that it stopped Dan Quayle.) Xavier is all hot air with that nasty edge that comes from insecurity. He must continually feel like he's on top, and he only drops his condescending tone when he's addressing Sidero. Since he's after acclaim and recognition, flattery will get you everywhere.

Did we mention that Xavier is completely self-centered? He is. So much so that his narrow vision often prevents him from seeing the larger evil picture. Anything that doesn't relate to him isn't worth his attention. Therefore Sidero will probably remain a smoke signal, and Owen will probably remain an aardvark.


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Comedy development coming together...

Continuing our reprinting of old garg development documents...

Again, this is Cindy & Kat trying to pull our ideas together into one document. I had mentioned having a problem with the mundane names. So Georgette became Dakota (another step toward her being Demona). Trouble, a name I DON'T remember having problems with, became Amp. Isa Dora became Cocoa. Pan Dora could safely become Pandora. "Sorcy" became Sidero. I had them stick with Ralph for the comic value. Of course, there was no rhyme or reason to any of these names. But we weren't trying to "figure it all out" at this stage. Just have something that felt fun, cool and funny enough to sell our bosses on.

Also, note in our "Backstory" Kat & Cindy were thinking 15th century, not 10th.

GARGOYLES - From Cindy & Kat 4/25/91

DAKOTA, the leader of the goyles, is an Indiana Jones with scales. She's brave, intelligent, and quick with a comeback (usually to Amp.) Her main concern is keeping the goyles out of danger. That's easier said than done. The only thing she can't resist is Chinese food, and she's phobic of pigeons.

AMP (as in "volume and distortion") is an Eddie Murphy type. He's cool, he's with it, he's now - and he's impossible. He knows right from wrong, but only in hindsight. Amp would like to be leader, but he's just too impulsive. He'll jump into any situation to prove himself, usually with Cocoa right behind him.

COCOA is not particularly concerned with her goylish figure. She's lovable and frenetic, everyone's friend, enthusiastic about any plan just on principle. Her passion is dancing and singing, although her dancing can register on the Richter scale, and her singing has been known to crack glass. (Dakota thinks these skills might come in handy.)

PANDORA is a serious actress who nobody takes seriously. She doesn't discuss, she gives monologues. She doesn't talk, she performs. She doesn't lie, she's just great at improv, which explains why the rest of the group gives a collective groan whenever she says, "Let me handle this-" In the eyes of strangers, she is almost cute enough to pull it off. Almost being the operative word.

LASSIE (not the smartest in the group) can be described in two words: easily sidetracked. He thinks everything is equally fascinating, which means he's just as likely to become fascinated with the villain's shoelaces as the villain's death-blaster. He may be manic, but when it comes to the goyles, he's as sweet and loyal as they come.

SUPPORTING CAST

RALPH loves adventure, provided he doesn't have to go along. An older goyle, Ralph is perfectly content to stay at home and hold down the fort ... as long as he has his popcorn popper, microwave, TV, Walkman and fuzzy banana slippers. He learns about humans by watching television, which makes for some dangerous assumptions. The other goyles often go to him for advice, and to watch the soaps. Goyles love soaps.

MORGAN, an archeologist, works for the Historical Preservation Society. She got inextricably tangled up with our cast when she agreed to oversee the transfer and restoration of Xavier's castle. Morgan was always fascinated, even obsessed, with Medieval lore, maybe because it was at a safe distance. Not any more. Thanks to the goyles' contagious enthusiasm, her Felix Unger approach to life no longer works. Morgan's first reaction to the goyles (after she stopped screaming) was purely scientific. "Here's something you don't see every day." Although wary to admit it, Morgan is beginning to like the goyles, and she'll do what she can (she know the castle inside and out!) to protect them.

SIDERO was once a great, albeit evil, sorceror, but now he's just a ghost-like image that his nephew can summon, and, thankfully, shut off. He continually browbeats his nephew for thinking small. ("You can't go through life hoping cashiers will give you too much change!!!") But until he finds a way out of this Wizard of Oz-like state, he must convince his ineffectual nephew to carry out his grandiose schemes for him. He is not happy about having the goyles on the loose because he knows how one pesky goyle can ruin a perfectly sinister day.

XAVIER inherited enormous family wealth at a very young age, and from his medieval castle penthouse atop New York City's Toppling Towers high-rise, he's doing his best to spend it. Although Xavier comes from a long line of evildoers, the family genes are fading. Try as he might, Xavier's schemes will never match up to the brilliant misdeeds of his great-great-great-great uncle.

BACKSTORY

In the 15th century, there was a very evil sorceror named Sidero who spent his final years seeking the secret of immortality. Failing with cryogenics (he got frostbite) and rockology (although he got rid of a few gargoyles), he settled for a genie-like state that would preserve his soul and image, but not his body, in The Mirror. In reflection, Sidero realized there were some drawbacks. Primarily, he was no longer the master of his destiny, because he could only be summoned if a direct descendant was standing in front of The Mirror. After five centuries someone finally moved the potted plant (in fact, someone moved the whole castle) and Sidero found himself face to face with a major disappointment -- his heir. Xavier, being of little and stingy mind, tried a few small potato schemes before realizing Sid's potential. ("Let the amazing Sidero guess your weight!", "Let Sidero organize your closet!", etc.)

To Sid's dismay, when the castle was moved a few of the gargoyles' stone shells were cracked. It was dank, cold and dark in those shells. They've had plenty of sleep, and now they're ready to party!!


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More comedy characterizations...

Continuing our reprinting of old Garg documents...
This one is by Kat Fair and Cindy Chupack, consolidating from previous memos. Notice, we've reduced the number of 'goyles down to six. Georgette (the precursor to Dakota/Demona) is the leader. Trouble (a precursor to Brooklyn/Lex) is the second. Isa Dora (Broadway), Lassie (Lex/Brooklyn) and Ralph (Hudson) are all present. Also Xavier (Xanatos) and Morgan (Elisa). Plus "Sorcy" (an Archmage/Magus type). And Pan Dora for whom we really don't have an equivalent. Though now I know we need one. I was still, at this point very concerned that the names were to dull. Anyway, enjoy:

KAT & CINDY 4/18/91
[NOTE: Greg Weisman's handwritten notes are in brackets.]

GARGOYLES

[NAMES]

GEORGETTE, the leader of the goyles, is an Indiana Jones with scales. She's brave, intelligent, streetwise and quick with a comeback (usually to Trouble). Her main concern is keeping the goyles out of danger. That's easier said than done. Her weakness is ice cream, and she's deathly afraid of pigeons.

TROUBLE is our Dan Ackroyd [BILL MURRAY] type. He'd like to be the leader, but he's just not wise enough in the ways of the world. He'll foolishly jump into any situation, usually with Isa Dora right behind him. He knows right from wrong, but he draws the line a little farther to the left than most.

ISA DORA, the larger of the adorable Dora sisters, is not particularly concerned with her goylish figure. She's lovable and frenetic, everyone's friend, enthusiastic about any plan just on principle. Isa's passion is dancing and singing, although her singing has been known to crack glass. (Georgette thinks this skill might come in handy.)

PAN DORA is a serious actress who nobody takes seriously. She doesn't discuss. She gives monologues. She doesn't talk. She performs. And she doesn't think before talking, which explains why the rest of the group gives a collective groan whenever Pan Dora says, "Let me handle this." In the eyes of strangers, Pan is almost cute enough to pull it off. Almost being the operative word.

LASSIE (not the smartest in the group) can be described in two words: easily sidetracked. He thinks everything is equally fascinating, which means he's just as likely to become fascinated with the villain Is shoelaces as the villain's death-blaster.

RALPH loves adventure, provided he doesn't have to go along. An older goyle, Ralph is perfectly content to stay at home and hold down the fort ... as long as he has his popcorn popper, microwave, TV, Walkman and fuzzy banana slippers. He learns about humans by watching television, which makes for some dangerous assumptions. The other goyles often go to him for advice, and to watch the soaps. Goyles love soaps.

HUMANS

XAVIER inherited enormous family wealth at a very young age, and from his medieval castle penthouse atop New York City's Toppling Towers high-rise, he's doing his best to spend it. Although Xavier comes from a long line of evildoers, the family genes are fading. Try as he might, Xavier's schemes will never match up to the brilliant misdeeds of his great-great-great-great uncle Sorcy.

MORGAN, a museum curator, got inextricably tangled up with our cast when she agreed to oversee the transfer and restoration of Xavier's castle. Morgan was always fascinated by Medieval lore, maybe because it was at a safe distance. Not any more. As the castle was being uprooted from Northern England, a few of the decorative stone gargoyles fell to the ground, cracked, and came to life. Morgan's first reaction (after she stopped screaming) was purely scientific. "Here's something you don't see every day." But the goyles' enthusiasm for life is contagious. Although wary to admit it, Morgan is beginning to like the goyles, and she'll do what she can (she knows the castle inside and out!) to protect them.

OTHER
THE SORCEROR would like to be addressed as 0. Great one, but everyone calls him Sorcy. Sorcy was once a great, albeit evil, sorceror, but now he is just a ghost-like image that his nephew can summon and, thankfully, shut off. Sorcy continually browbeats his nephew for thinking small. ("You can't go through life hoping cashiers will give you too much change!!!") But until Sorcy finds a way out of this Wizard of Oz-like state, he must convince his ineffectual nephew to carry out his grandiose schemes for him. Sorcy is not happy about having the goyles on the loose because he knows how one pesky goyle can ruin a perfectly horrible day.


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FIRST BLUSH COMEDY GARGS

Unfortunately, I don't have the next step to post. After the document I posted yesterday, we had Development Art Director Bob Kline (creator of the New Olympians) do some preliminary designs, just some inspirational stuff. Keep in mind, we were still thinking Gummi Bears. He drew nine cute little gargoyles, and I assigned Cindy and Kat to come up with short bios for each one.

You can see a bit of Brooklyn in Nick (though his picture looked more like Lex).

There's a bit of Lex in Campbell and Lassie.

Georgette is a precursor to Dakota, who was in turn the precursor to Demona.

Ralph Fullmoon (teamed with his clearly "Honeymooners"-inspired Alice) was the precursor to the couch potato Ralph that eventually became Hudson.

And Isa Dora is a clear precursor to Coco, who led us to Broadway. So the beginnings are here. And I didn't write any of it. (Thanks, Kat & Cindy!)

RECEIVED BY
APR 08 1991
GREG WEISMAN'S OFFICE

GARGOYLES: LIST OF CHARACTERS
(based on some sketches by Bob Kline)
from Cindy and Kat 4/5/91

NICK: [Greg's hand-written note in margin: Are Names too common?] This Bill Murray type is the leader of the goyles. real name is Melvin but he changed it. Nick's quick to come up with a plan---Unfortunately, his plans rarely work. Above all (gargoyles usually are) Nick loves women. Indiscriminately. However, his best lines solicit responses such as "You're not my type - of species" and "Come back when you've worked your way up the food chain."

CAMBELL: This guy is good-natured, curious and big-time naive. He looks at the modern world like a tourist, complete with camera. Subsequently no adventure is complete until he has a souvenir. He's an avid collector of everything, which comes in handy if you have time to sort through his mess of a collection. He's fascinated by the modern world. Read: easily sidetracked.

PAN DORA: The smaller of the adorable Dora sisters, Pan Dora is a pathological liar. And she's almost cute enough to pull it off. Almost being the operative word. She's as sweet as can be, but her first inclination in any situation is to lie. She takes pleasure in testing the limits of human gullibilty. Her motto is "If at first you don't succeed, lie, lie again." She rarely succeeds. Which explains why the goyles' give a collective groan when Pan Dora says, "Let me handle this."

ISA DORA: The larger of the adorable Dora sisters, Isa Dora loves to dance. Think hippo from Fantasia. But Isa Dora sings, too. She's lovable and frenetic, which makes for a dangerous hug. (We also have an alternate male version.)

ALICE FULLMOON: Think Gracie Allen--ditzy but self-assured. Alice gets into a lot of trouble, but always comes out on top. She's the eternal optimist. Which makes her the perfect contrast to...

RALPH FULLMOON: Think Al Bundy but with worse luck.
Nothing ever goes right for Ralph. Even his practical jokes backfire. In short, he's not thrilled to be awake.

GEORGETTE: Although Nick likes all women, held really like to turn to stone with Georgette. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) But she has more important things on her mind. Like keeping the goyles out of danger. Georgette is not only great with a comeback, she's fearless. She's a female Indiana Jones with scales. She should be the leader, but for some reason nobody listens to her until Nick's plan fails.

TROUBLE: As in "Here comes." If Matt Dillon was a gargoyle ... well, let's just say this is the kind of guy that gives gargoyles a bad name. Basically, he's from the wrong side of the tracks. He's a loner. He's quick to point out that trouble's not his middle name--it's his first name! He thinks the other goyles are really stupid and uncool, which makes him a good candidate for the nephew's sidekick. However, he's about as loyal as a parasite. He only looks out for himself, and when the going gets tough, he doesn't get going. He's gone.

LASSIE: Another candidate for the nephew's sidekick, Lassie is nothing like his name suggests. He continually misinterprets situations and attacks the wrong people at the wrong time. Plus he's easily distracted. We're talking the attention span of Kim Basinger. It's a wonder he found his way onto this page. He gladly accepts any mission, but only as an excuse to get out of the house. The villains try to spell out his instructions, but you can't teach a crazy gargoyle new tricks.

OTHER OPTIONS

DUMB JOCK TYPE: All talk, really cowardly.

PIGLET TYPE: Very nervous.

STEVEN WRIGHT TYPE: Extremely zoned out. Never really woke up. (We need art.)


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Gencie Salter writes...

1. Did you ever consider having one of the surviving members of the wyvern clan that got put under the stone sleep spell be a female? Like one of the Trio's rookery sisters or something, to sort of round out the cast?

Greg responds...

Broadway was orignally Coco and female. And there was Demona, who started off as Dakota.

Response recorded on August 22, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

Just read your new posts on the very early documents for the series, and wanted to thank you for them. The one that particularly intrigued me was the one where Goliath (or the Goliath-equivalent character) was an artificial creation of an evil wizard (the original version of the Archmage?), and the rest of the gargoyles were, in a sense, his "artificial creations". That was certainly a bit of a surprise, seeing that the early days of the series were taking the slant on gargoyles that you finally rejected, that in the first draft stage they actually were statues brought to life rather than members of a pre-human race that arose through natural means.

I was also amused to see the "lock, stock, and gargoyle" phrase in there because I recall that it made it into the finished product, when Elisa uses it in "The Thrill of the Hunt".

At any rate, thanks for that post.

Greg responds...

You are welcome, sir. Stay tuned for more...

Response recorded on August 22, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

I read one of the early memos you just posted, and this bit in particular : "Bronx, the gargoyle-dog does not have wings. His ears allow him to hover a bit for short periods of time."

I really have to wonder. How the hell were you envisioning this? His *ears* allow him to hover? He flies with his *ears*? Was this some kind of Dumbo reference? I'm really amazed that something like this would have been thought of in the dramatic version of gargoyles.... :-)

Greg responds...

You have to see the art. And you CAN -- by attending any GATHERING. (Heck, Aris, I know L.A. and Greece are far apart, but you really don't want to miss out. And, hey, we've had people come from Japan, Israel, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, England and Kissimee. Start planning now.)

Anyway, Paul Felix's drawing of Bronx was so funny, we didn't care if the tone was slightly off. Bronx would be a bit more of a comic relief character. But Frank came in and disagreed. And he was right, of course. But man, what a great drawing.

Response recorded on August 22, 2000

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Early comedy development...

Continuing to reprint old documents from the development file. This one doesn't have a name attached, but I'd guess it was written by Kat Fair. The document consists of notes taken during a Development Staff Meeting where Gargoyles, among other projects, was discussed:

GARGOYLES: Staff meeting 3/20/91

LEAD CHARACTERS:

GARGOYLES:

Gargoyles will be both male and female. Debate as to how many (3-6).

Gargoyles turn to stone when asleep. Many funny gag opportunities when fall asleep at inconvenient times. Also, gives them an Achilles' heel. Hard to wake up (Discover what does wake them up.)

Gargoyles' motivations are:

1. To wake up other gargoyles;
2. Beware of sorcerer who put them to sleep for 1000 years;
3. To party!!!!! (not necessarily in that order.)

NEPHEW:

Living off of enormous family wealth from great-great-great-great uncle sorcerer; has blood line of bad guys, but has never quite matched up to sorcerer, whom he admires. Accidentally recalls sorcerer. Lives in Trump Tower with sorcerer's old castle on top. Should be some family resemblance between sorcerer and nephew.

SORCERER:

Browbeats nephew continually for thinking small in his evil deeds, and drives him on to carry out his own grandiose schemes. Not happy when learns that gargoyles are around and active, knowing how pesky they can be in foiling his plans. He's a ghost-like/Wizard of Oz-like image that the nephew can call up - and shut off.

NEPHEW SIDE-KICK:

Not decided if this character should be a sarcastic scientific experiment gone bad, a smart-mouthed robot invented by nephew and animated by sorcerer, or if necessary at all.

FEMALE CURATOR:

Guardian for gargoyles. She oversaw bringing the castle to the Tower. Gargoyles bring fun into her staid and safe life. Discussed danger of making her as focused as Gadget. Also, discussed possiblity of her having younger sister and/or daughter who will also get involved with gargoyles for smaller stories. (FYI: Julia Morgan was the name of the architect who worked with Hearst on San Simeon.)

Movie/backstory:

Counterpart princess guardian to female curator. (Idea type this: Maybe gargoyles were put to sleep for 1000 years while deflecting sorcerer's curse from princess.)

Start in past and move to future, or remain in past, leaving ending wide open for sequel/TV series.

You'll notice the early stirrings of the Elisa character in the Curator. And now I remember where we got the name "Morgan" from, which was one of Elisa's early monikers. You can also see the early comic Xavier/Xanatos in the Nephew character. And the Mr. Owen aardvark sidekick. Also the basic structure of starting in the past and waking in the present after a curse. Plus, already, we had the castle atop the skyscraper idea.


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Notes from a lunch meeting...

Continuing to post old documents from the series' early development. This is new stuff to you -- and we can thank Jordan Mann for transcribing it. The date is iffy. There's no actual date on the page, but I know this memo comes before the next one, which is dated 3-20-91.

I didn't write this. These notes were written up by one of the development associates who worked with me. Probably Kat Fair (now at Nickelodeon) who's mentioned making her comments. The Gary referred to was my boss Gary Krisel:

[Pre 3/20/91]
LUNCH W/ GARY RE: GARGOYLES:
Beauty and Beast
Science experiment gone wrong
talisman, magic rain, lightening

Look into mythology, keep as much as possible Gary not comfortable with long past history.
Greg: Ancient enemy now 3-piece suit, turned gargoyles into stone

Who is enemy and what is purpose of gargoyles? To help caretaker against her enemies, against their enemies? What is enemy trying to do? Gain power? Gain money? Take over earth to what purpose?

Any gremlin-like qualities? Get bigger when fed, multiply when wet, etc.?

KAT: Gargoyles turned to human by lucky accident when scientist (nerd female) fell asleep and knocked over vials during a lovely dream, or let something overheat and boil over. (It was this happiness and positive feelings that infused the liquids and affected/infected the 'goyles.) Scientist works for evil 3piece/ex-mage who always has her working on new projects he comes up with. Scientist (at first) goes along with these orders because he's the boss. Eventually scientist sees that what boss wants is bad, and works to thwart him at every turn (with the help of the 'goyles.

Gargoyles have been stone for hundreds of years, are now so thrilled to be alive they're goofy, joyous. Always see the positive side to the point of ridiculousness. Just love life and play, because they know that if you don't play you turn to stone - and that's what they're trying to show scientist. Goyles are more human than the human scientist.



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